Football Player's Fatal Brain Injury Claims Settled

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By Steven M. Sellers

July 27 — Claims that dangerous practice drills resulted in fatal brain injuries to a Frostburg State University football player have been settled, according to a payout approved by the Maryland Board of Public Works July 27.

The board approved a $50,000 settlement payout to the Derek Sheely Foundation.

Sheely died of head traumas suffered over several consecutive days of full-contact football practices, ultimately causing a brain herniation and an acute subdural hematoma, according to an amended complaint in the case.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the settlement with the state university also reflects a deal with other defendants in the case, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association and helmet maker Kranos, doing business as Schutt Sports.

The case was brought in 2013 by Derek Sheely's parents after he collapsed on the sidelines during a football practice. He lapsed into a coma and died six days later .

Frostburg State University's “no-tell, play through pain” team policy, “dangerous” practice drills and an athletic trainer's repeated mismanagement of Sheely's head injuries during the practices resulted in Sheely's death, the complaint alleges.

A scheduled trial in the case before the Maryland Circuit Court, Montgomery County, was stayed in June ( Sheely v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, Md. Cir. Ct., No. 380569-V, stay filed 6/16/16 ).

An attorney for the Sheelys, Paul Anderson of the Klamann Law Firm in Kansas City, Mo., told Bloomberg BNA in June that the stay was “to allow the parties to complete the process of settling this matter.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven M. Sellers in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at and Nicholas Datlowe at

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